Hemp-growing permit deadline passes for Pennsylvania farmers
Tuesday was the deadline for Pennsylvania farmers to apply for a permit to grow industrial hemp. Farmers already in the application process have until May 21 to sign a final agreement with the state Department of Agriculture.
Although legalized by the 2018 Farm Bill, hemp is still a regulated crop in Pennsylvania, so a permit is necessary to grow it. Some of the restrictions, however, have been lifted, including the 100-acre cap and the cap on the number of applicants.
“This year presented new opportunities for hemp growers, and we received an overwhelmingly positive response and scores of interested participants,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “We look forward to working with these and other new growers as we continue to learn and do new things with this new old crop.”
The agriculture department has received more than 215 permit applications, about 140 of which have been finalized, said Shannon Powers, department spokeswoman.
Applicants must undergo a background check, provide the GPS coordinates for the growing field and agree to random testing of the crop, Powers said.
Hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the same species of plant. Unlike marijuana, hemp is grown mainly for fiber, seed and oil, and must maintain a concentration of the psychoactive chemical tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, that is below the 0.3 percent legal threshold.
Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .